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How confidential is “confidential” information?

October 13th, 2008 · No Comments

A vendor client of Gartner had a full-day session with an analyst where the vendor presented its detailed upcoming product plans and got lots of feedback from this analyst (Gartner calls it “SAS” – or Strategic Advisory Services). Two weeks later, the analyst announced that he was leaving Gartner to join a major competitor of this vendor.

When the vendor who had paid for the SAS found out the analyst was going to its competitor, they contacted us, concerned that the non-disclosure (NDA) information shared with him would now be shared with their arch-enemy — and what was Gartner going to do about it?

Well, one thing was done before that analyst walked through the doors on his first day of work: he signed an agreement that bound him not to tell anyone outside Gartner any confidential information he learned while working at Gartner. That obligation to maintain the confidentiality of this information doesn’t end when his employment does. When he gave notice, he was also reminded by his manager that he signed this agreement and that it’s legally binding.

So what? Protecting confidential client information is one a cornerstone of the Gartner Principles of Ethical Conduct. That obligation to keep confidential information confidential doesn’t end when employment with Gartner does.

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